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Today’s must-read

Friday, Apr 17, 2015 - Posted by Rich Miller

* SJ-R

Layoffs have begun for the Springfield branch of The Autism Program after Gov. Bruce Rauner cut its funding.

The governor announced the freeze of $26 million in state grants in a letter to social service agencies April 3. The move is part of an attempt to plug a $1.6 billion budget hole for the current fiscal year.

Russell Bonanno, the state director of the TAP Network, said Thursday that five professionals have already been let go by the program. Another two are facing cuts in both hours and salary, he said.

The Springfield branch has already eliminated nonclinical services, such as training and consultation for parents. The organization also is reviewing clinical services to decide if any need to be ended.

Bonanno said without money right now, it’s unlikely TAP will be able to reinstate its services in the near future.

* My friend Toni Gauen watched yesterday’s press conference by autism program advocates and then posted this on her Facebook page. It’s today’s must-read

Imagine your everyday with no limits. Daring to face each challenge with excitement and vigor. Refusing to be your own stumbling block. Never ending your day with “done.” Always pushing the finish line forward.

What then would our world be like? Sounds like it would be a super human kind of world wouldn’t it?

I think about this often. Not only for the challenges I’ve chosen to face in my life. But more so when I consider the challenges my son and others with disabilities have to face every day to achieve the same level of “normal” we take for granted. It’s easy to overlook the strength of will and effort he and others have had to exert. Especially when their efforts have been successful.

Most know this..but for those who don’t, my son has autism. It’s mild. He is high functioning. And his diagnoses has evolved over the years. But he has been in therapies since he was three. His vocabulary was significantly limited. He didn’t “mimic.” He didn’t make eye contact. He had melt downs. He couldn’t tolerate loud noises, tastes, textures, even a hug at times. But he could create intricate patterns, recognize shapes, line up objects etc.

We started out with at home speech therapy, occupational therapy and a family/social therapists to help me and him interact in a way that wouldn’t result in a melt down. He stayed with various therapists as he progressed and his needs changed. He was in small-early childhood classes with other kids with disabilities. He rode “the short bus” to school. ;) I cringe when I hear the use of that term in a derogatory way. I loved that short bus. It meant my son was going to see people who could help him in ways I could not. It meant I could hope for a better future for him.

After a while he was able to be integrated with other kids without disabilities. He has had an IEP, Individual Educational Plan, all through the school years. I’ve had to fight almost every year to keep it and to enforce it. Budget cuts are always threatening the programs that help. He is a number. A figure in a budget. And his disabilities are not as understood as others that are more physically apparent. And also because these therapies and interventions have worked! He IS a success story! Most people who have met him can’t perceive anything different about him than any other kid. He has an IQ in the “very superior” range. But he has had to work very hard to reach his potential and to get to this point in his social skills where he can be accepted by peers and even society as “normal.” It does not come naturally to him.

So everyday he faces challenges. He had to be taught that words are not always literal. He had to be taught socially acceptable behavior. He had to be taught to interpret facial and body language. He had to be taught that people lie. All these things and more he has had to learn through repetition and therapies. And he continues to draw upon those therapies to be able to function in a world that is foreign for him.

As he gets older there are new challenges he must face. We all do. But it’s different for him and others with these disabilities. They aren’t cured. It’s still there. They have just learned to cope. They’ve learned to act against what their natural inclination is.

Literally, they are facing each day tearing down their limits. Daring to face each challenge. Refusing to be their own stumbling block. Never ending their day with “done” because their disability will never go away. Their finish line will always be pushed forward. :-) Kind of like a super human don’t you think?

I’m lucky. My son is 16 and is already a super human ;) He has been through all those programs that made it possible for him to overcome. And his disability is relatively mild in comparison to what others have to work through. Yet right now the programs that have made all this possible are being cut.

It’s not just a number. It’s not just a figure. It’s hope. The programs that are being cut are what make it possible for these kids to thrive. These kids are already facing huge challenges. They are already working each day to overcome obstacles that most of us never have to face. And the programs that help them do this, that give them the tools they need to function in our world, are being taken away.

We hear about the cuts to programs but we don’t really understand what it means. For people with disabilities, and specifically autism, it means imagining everyday always pushing the finish line forward but with even more stumbling blocks in the way, more challenges to hinder, limits without hope to overcome and a future that won’t be realized.

Think about this.

* Related…

* Cuts take aim at Alzheimer and dementia patients

       

84 Comments
  1. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:23 am:

    A line to remember from the SJR story:

    “These are clinicians who are in high demand around the country,” he said. “I think it would be unreasonable to believe that they would remain available to come back to TAP on a moment’s notice.”


  2. - John Boch - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:28 am:

    The government cannot be all things to all people.

    We’re broke, ladies and gentlemen.

    Stop spending money we don’t have.

    Period.

    John


  3. - foster brooks - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:29 am:

    Rauner is creating a crisis to use it as leverage against state employee pay and pensions


  4. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:30 am:

    @John Boch

    Enjoy your free motorcycle lessons.


  5. - Aldyth - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:33 am:

    John Boch, you can pay some now or pay a whole lot more later. You can give children with autism enough training early on when it makes a difference so that they can function enough to be a taxpayer as an adult. Or, you can save all kinds of money now and pay millions to support that non-functional adult in residential programs and sheltered settings for the rest of his life.

    The percentage of children in the autism spectrum rises every year. Pay now or pay later. It will be a whole lot more expensive later.


  6. - Concerned - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:34 am:

    And John, by all means let’s not ask for any sacrifice from the successful, lucky, or both in order to be able to afford to help those people. When Rauner says “shared sacrifice” he means shared by the weakest and most vulnerable among us–it is apparently some moral failing not to be healthy, successful, or lucky.
    /snark/


  7. - A guy - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:35 am:

    A penetrating and thoughtful letter. This is how you present your case to demonstrate effective spending. The waste has to be eliminated, no doubt about it. The good and effective programs need to survive. I think this one will find it’s way back. Bad spending programs are very much the enemy of good ones.


  8. - Gooner - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:36 am:

    John, I’ve got an 8 year old who needs help with a few issues for which he gets assistance.

    With that assistance, he’s doing very well. Without it he would have a tough time.

    John, despite those difficulties, he’s progressed far farther than you have.

    Despite his challenges, he has some basic compassion.

    You don’t.


  9. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:37 am:

    @John Boch, just to clarify, the governor didn’t eliminate autism. He eliminated funding for helping people with autism.


  10. - A guy - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:37 am:

    Concerned, Mr. Boch isn’t making a good argument or being the least bit helpful, but neither are you.


  11. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:40 am:

    - The government cannot be all things to all people -

    Perhaps it should be something to the most vulnerable.

    Then again, in your mind it’s adult males with insecurities that have a need to carry a gun that are most vulnerable, so I wouldn’t expect you to understand.


  12. - MrJM - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:40 am:

    “without money right now, it’s unlikely TAP will be able to reinstate its services in the near future.”

    Yet another example of the “pump and dump” approach to state government.

    – MrJM


  13. - Stones - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:40 am:

    Only a bully would single out the elderly, disabled or poor.


  14. - Jocko - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:41 am:

    Talk about timely, Ellie Spieth (Jordan’s sister) was the talk of last week’s masters.

    What’s frustrating is that BVR has to “gin up” a crisis in order to raise taxes and thereby break his campaign promise.


  15. - Arsenal - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:41 am:

    “The government cannot be all things to all people.”

    No one’s asking it to be.

    “We’re broke, ladies and gentlemen.”

    And putting more people on the dole by eliminating training programs for them sure ain’t gonna help it.

    “Stop spending money we don’t have.”

    Let’s start with the $100 million in tax expenditures.


  16. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:42 am:

    Guy, you’re not the blog police, and Boch’s ignorant statement is deeply offensive to anyone with a child, relative, or friend with special needs. He deserves all the ridicule he gets, as does your hero Bruce.


  17. - MrJM - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:42 am:

    “Concerned, Mr. Boch isn’t making a good argument or being the least bit helpful, but neither are you.”

    And the 2015 Golden Horseshoe for Least Self-Aware Comment goes to…

    – MrJM


  18. - downstate - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:46 am:

    I truly believe this was done so Rauner could say he’s not being afraid of being called heartless (or as he’d put it ‘making tough decisions’) in pursuit of fiscal responsibility but that the funding will somehow miraculously be freed up by the benevolent governor down the road. In the meantime some of the truly neediest people are suffering on account of Rauner’s amateurish gamesmanship. In line with foster brooks comment, these folks are just going to be used as chips.


  19. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:52 am:

    Subscribers know that “downstate” is definitely on to something.


  20. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:55 am:

    Great. The North Korea approach. I don’t want to bow before his picture and thank him for my life too soon.


  21. - Big Joe - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:55 am:

    These special programs that are being cut are exactly the kinds of programs that are needed to help those with disabilities. They need to be funded, no doubt. That is why our taxes should have been increased a long time ago to fund them. But because raising taxes to pay for them was not politically the best thing to do, the state skipped pension payments to pay for them. It is time to admit that and realize that these programs are some of the things that make Illinois a great place to live. Eliminate the programs that are not working, and fund the ones that are.


  22. - John A Logan - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:56 am:

    Maybe I am missing something, but when will the democrats stand up? Where are the firebrand “Rickey Hendon” type speeches by democratic legislators? These issues seem to be getting push back from only those directly employed by the agencies whose funding gets slashed. When will Howard Beale arrive for the Democrats?


  23. - throwing stones - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:59 am:

    “we’re broke ladies and gentleman”

    the state of illinois is in debt, and overspending due to not enough revenue. however, the people that live in the state of illinois are not broke or without money.

    providing revenue for the state for programs that enable people to become future taxpayers and productive members of society is a good investment for the people of illinois.

    and let’s not forget not only the individuals receiving services, but the people working in those jobs are paying income taxes, living in homes (paying property taxes), etc.,


  24. - Crispy - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 10:05 am:

    Wow. I have tremendous admiration for your friend and her courageous son, and for the many others like them who’ve been dealt a difficult hand and who keep moving forward anyway. To blindside people in this position with the unheralded, totally unexpected removal of their support systems is just inhumane. My heart breaks for them. This was a terrible decision, spurred by a wrong-headed agenda and a preventable, man-made crisis. I hope against hope that there’s some 11th-hour solution that will restore these services and minimize the damage to people and programs.

    John Boch: There were other places to cut that wouldn’t have meant pulling the rug out from under the most vulnerable Illinoisans. This was not the way to go about it.


  25. - Chicago Publius - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 10:07 am:

    John Boch: Your facile statement is simply wrong. Anyone who has a domestic budget knows there’s a big difference between “money’s tight” and “we’re broke.” The State of Illinois is not “broke.” What’s “broke” is the heart and the mind of a Governor and his over-paid CFO who think that people in need are pawns to be used to extort what they want from the General Assembly. This strategy will not be effective for Rauner — and in the meantime, a lot of people are going to get hurt.


  26. - Streator Curmudgeon - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 10:10 am:

    Reminiscent of Reagan’s cuts that put the mentally ill out on the streets, creating much of the homeless problem that still exists today.

    Sadly, our country has a long history of creating invisible people.


  27. - Politix - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 10:14 am:

    ===@John Boch, just to clarify, the governor didn’t eliminate autism. He eliminated funding for helping people with autism.===

    Michelle wins. I just spit out my coffee.


  28. - Loop Lady - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 10:14 am:

    Bruce is going to be out maneuvered by folks who have been playing this game for a very long time…lets see how full of himself he is after he gets shown up
    by the powers that be in Springfield…the Dems have used this tactic in a different manner for forever…Ill be watching as budget wars plays out over the summer…


  29. - A guy - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 10:15 am:

    == MrJM - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 9:42 am:

    “Concerned, Mr. Boch isn’t making a good argument or being the least bit helpful, but neither are you.”

    And the 2015 Golden Horseshoe for Least Self-Aware Comment goes to…

    – MrJM===

    Didn’t know there was such a category, but a defending champion of it would. Maintain that charm.


  30. - zatoichi - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 10:15 am:

    It is east to cut those wasteful dollars for programs you do not use, understand, or care about. Unfortunately the disability club is pretty easy to join and once you are in your life changes. Luck at birth, have a stroke, let diabetes get your feet, pick a cardiac issue, accident/injury, select any number of diseases. Of course none of that matters until it directly hits you personally or people you care about.

    Illinois is far from broke. As Judge Thomas asked at the ISC pension hearing ‘If you needed the money, why did you let the income tax drop?’ It’s about choices being made.


  31. - Juvenal - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 10:17 am:

    John, we aren’t broke, we just put $750,000 back in the governor’s pocket, at his insistence.


  32. - Demoralized - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 10:24 am:

    ==Stop spending money we don’t have. Period==

    At what point in you life do you lose compassion? Maybe we should stop spending money on issuing all of the CC permits John. I bet you’d be singing a different tune.

    Pathetic.


  33. - Crispy - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 10:31 am:

    @Loop Lady, “from your mouth to God’s ears,” as the saying goes. Would really like to see the governor learn that creating victims to use as leverage is both bad policy and ineffective politics. Sigh.


  34. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 10:31 am:

    “Think about this.”

    I have though about this, a lot, and it disgusts me. It’s uncivilized. We don’t deserve to be a great country and state if we cut vital services and harm our most vulnerable residents, while giving corporations massive tax breaks and not requiring the wealthiest to contribute more.


  35. - horse w/ no name - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 10:41 am:

    Looking at cap fax today, Rauner clearly believes that he won’t wear the jacket on either an austere budget or a prolonged stalemate. He believes his own rhetoric that it’s a brave reformer vs. the broken legislature. One problem, Lede like this: “Layoffs have begun for the Springfield branch of The Autism Program after Gov. Bruce Rauner cut its funding.”

    All the cuts, all the blood, all the damage, it’s yours to own Governor.


  36. - crazybleedingheart - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 10:42 am:

    Another day, another New IL Republican Value.

    Neglect the suffering, destroy the weak, torpedo the least of these

    –then–

    Stage a Very Public Conversion Experience that just happens to grind the head of thine enemy under thine heel.

    Reminds me of those “converts” who love to brag at length and in great detail about how derelict they were and how many people they hurt before they got “saved.” The story of the bad acts is always longer, gorier and more compelling than the details of the hard work of leaving them behind.

    [NB: Satan didn’t MAKE you be a terrible person; you chose that all on your own.]


  37. - Cheswick - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 10:45 am:

    “The government cannot be all things to all people.”

    Damn skippy. Government is best suited to serve corporations, the wealthy, people who don’t smoke, kids not on ventilators, people without autism.

    /snark!!111s!11


  38. - DPGumby - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 10:46 am:

    The callous disregard for the most vulnerable residents of Illinois shown by Brucie and those who view the financial challenges as a bean counter issue v. a social compact issue is never going to be resolve by using people as pawns.


  39. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 10:50 am:

    “Are there no prisons…are there no workhouses?” - Charles Dickens (Or was it Bruce Rauner or John Boch)


  40. - Wordslinger - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 10:53 am:

    Yeah, it’s a setup. Stick it the most vulnerable now and then play the hero later when you let them have the crumbs on the table.


  41. - Gooner - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 10:57 am:

    I wonder if Donna Arduin will take the blame for this. It is completely consistent with the actions she’s taken elsewhere, and frankly, her hiring telegraphed moves like this.


  42. - Louis G Atsaves - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 11:02 am:

    @John Boch, yes we are broke. Yes, the State continues to spend more than it takes in. And yes government can’t be everything to everyone. The only people who will disagree with those statements are those who put or supported those who created this fiscal mess.

    But when times get tough, when money grows short, when resources grow thin, government needs to prioritize what it can continue to provide and what it cannot continue to provide.

    This program should remain a priority with the State.


  43. - DuPage - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 11:06 am:

    All this carnage over the tax not being renewed. Rauner said the tax did not need to be renewed. He has proven himself wrong, big time.


  44. - walker - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 11:07 am:

    Rauner’s actually getting some public credit today for “restoring” $97m to schools, which is less than he just cut from them.

    Same will happen with autism programs. Hope it’s quick!


  45. - Concerned - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 11:07 am:

    “This program should remain a priority with the State.”

    Nor should it (and more importantly, the people–their hopes and reasonable expectations–affected by this) be used as a pawn to get what Rauner wants from the GA.

    A threat to cut off this critical funding is bad enough. To make that cut, well, the damage is already done (including to Rauner’s credibility).


  46. - VanillaMan - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 11:07 am:

    Governor Rauner is being exposed as an amateur, willing to use our neediest citizens as a human shield for political purposes.

    He has shown himself as someone willing to throw burdened people left to ask for government help, into even greater stress and burdens by threatening to end their last hopes.

    What we have learned is that our new governor is an optimist. He thinks people really aren’t as bad off as they claim to be. He seems to believe that people on assistance are just milking it. His actions over the past six months show us someone who really does believe that help is everywhere help is needed and people on government assistance are stupid, lazy, corrupted, incompetent or have a loser mentality.

    He believes that people who work for governments are just as bad.

    How is that optimistic?

    Because he thinks that he isn’t destroying lives by his actions. He thinks everyone he kicks out of government assistance, or government employment will find a golden parachute which will land them in a better place. He can smile as he slices the support of Illinoisans, because he has convinced himself that he is helping them when he steps upon their fingers causing them to fall off.

    Governor Rauner doesn’t see suffering. He sees people who have chosen to suffer in order to make a buck and avoid work.

    A lot of his political supporters believe the same thing to some degree. They have for too long witnessed others getting extra government help and they are jealous of it, or angry that they feel that they are being overtaxed. They have witnessed government workers not at work, but at home, and living what seems to be a comfortable life and this makes them angry.

    These little towns passing the Rauner resolutions on RTW, are only one tornado away from becoming a cornfield. They don’t like watching imported luxury cars speeding by, filled with folks experiencing a differing life than theirs.

    These are the Rauner people. This is where he gets his support. They mean well, and are sincere, yet they sincerely don’t understand modern life beyond their little town minds.


  47. - Vickie Moseley - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 11:14 am:

    I’ve been reading the comments and appreciate the intentions here. Bottom line — blasting on a blog is great but it would be even better if you spoke to your neighbors, drop a line to anyone in the legislature. My son and I had some great discussions yesterday about what TAP does for him and his friends. He wants TAP to be around to help other kids like him.

    And to John Boch, when it happens in your family, I’m sure you’ll feel differently.


  48. - A guy - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 11:18 am:

    === walker - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 11:07 am:

    Rauner’s actually getting some public credit today for “restoring” $97m to schools, which is less than he just cut from them.

    Same will happen with autism programs. Hope it’s quick!====

    I hope it’s quick too Walk. I think it will be. The GOP has taken very deserved criticism for not having to take tough votes or offer alternatives for over a decade- well deserved valid criticism- now they must and they are.

    The other side deserves the same level of criticism for never being willing to make tough choices, so they included every program, effective or not. Couldn’t say no, ever. Now they have to. It looks like they are starting to prioritize and not deem every program a ‘Sacred Cow’. It’s ugly, it’s hurtful, it’s painful and it looks very callous often. It’s also necessary.

    I’ll restate; the biggest enemy of good social programs are the bad wasteful ones that have been politically expedient. Separating them has been a lesson in humility to be sure. The Dems knew better all along and let their good ones suffer for the sake of the bad ones. Bad choice.

    Hope the Autism one gets restored quickly.


  49. - Politix - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 11:28 am:

    “I truly believe this was done so Rauner could say he’s not being afraid of being called heartless (or as he’d put it ‘making tough decisions’) in pursuit of fiscal responsibility but that the funding will somehow miraculously be freed up by the benevolent governor down the road.”

    Sounds good in theory but time is running out. With just 2.5 months left in the SFY, agencies already announcing layoffs, and parents’ desperate pleas, that’s a whole lot of bad optics. I don’t think people will forget this.


  50. - Cassandra - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 11:29 am:

    Well, ok, but where are these bad wasteful programs that have been politically expedient. I know there was that non-violence initiative, but that’s over, I assume. Could be wrong-it’s Illinois. So where, so we can eliminate them.


  51. - Politix - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 11:31 am:

    I don’t think people will find his “being heartless” all that useful or honorable, if that’s the assumption. That’s not what people want in a government leader. PQ, with all of his faults, was a compassionate leader. Elections have consequences, indeed.


  52. - Demoralized - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 11:34 am:

    ==It looks like they are starting to prioritize and not deem every program a ‘Sacred Cow’.==

    Not to be crass, but the s*&t has hit the fan. We all knew this day was coming. Nobody wants to be hit by the spray from that fan. Everyone needs to do a better job of protecting the most vulnerable from that.


  53. - Politix - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 11:47 am:

    Demoralized - SO true. Get your program’s evaluated! Use evidence-based practices! Improve services as needed. A lot of smaller church-based feel-good programs rely on their local legislators to bring home the bacon and then don’t take on their share of the responsibility to keep good records and offer legit programming. I’ve seen this happen with the Black Caucus time and time again. They certainly don’t hold their community members accountable either, hence their approps hearing tantrums/name calling we endure every year.

    And I’m NOT saying this doesn’t happen with other groups of legislators - just my experience.


  54. - anon - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 12:14 pm:

    The Rauner definition of compassion: Better to balance the budget at the expense of the disabled, mentally ill and helpless than to ask the
    e top 12% of taxpayers to take a smaller income tax cut.


  55. - qcexaminer - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 12:16 pm:

    There is lots of redirection here but no one is explaining why the Dems didn’t fully fund this caring, compassionate program when they had the chance.


  56. - olddog - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 12:28 pm:

    @ Politix 11:P47 a.m. === A lot of smaller church-based feel-good programs rely on their local legislators to bring home the bacon and then don’t take on their share of the responsibility to keep good records and offer legit programming. ===

    I’ll assume you know what you’re talking about, in the absence of evidence, but we have little church- and community-based programs all over Illinois that offer essential services that are provided in other states by government agencies but farmed out in Illinois to not-for-profits. Autism, cerebral palsy, job training, Arc of Illinois, the Illinois Association of Microboards and Cooperatives, the list goes on. These are the programs that are suspending services and/or closing their doors due to the Good Friday cuts.


  57. - Neglected stepchild - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 12:31 pm:

    Once again, cry me a freakin’ river, sob sisters. Dig in your pockets, weepy do-gooders, and make up the difference for your precious non-essential programs.


  58. - Gooner - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 12:33 pm:

    Neglected stepchild, just a head’s up — you left the “/snark/” off your post.

    Without it, people are going to think you were serious.


  59. - BlameBruceRauner - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 12:34 pm:

    Oh my favorite person…..Stepchild. How yah doing? Go crawl back under the rock you came from.


  60. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 12:46 pm:

    ===no one is explaining why the Dems didn’t fully fund this caring, compassionate program when they had the chance. ===

    Um, they did, ergo the broken deal.


  61. - dupage dan - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 12:49 pm:

    The issue is simple, really. The need exists. Folks have come to rely upon the gov’t to provide services for those in need - shared responsibility. Those services are not cheap.

    Folks in charge on both sides of the aisle have failed in their duty to ensure the financial health of the state. Now there is a huge wall of debt looming in front of us. The gov’t continues to behave as before - the power struggles having more meaning than the financial health of Illinois.

    You get the gov’t you deserve.


  62. - Hard Decisions - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 12:53 pm:

    The bottom line is not whether we should be funding programs protecting the most vulnerable…its whether the programs we are funding are the most effective way to address these problems. The state is still funding autism services and when you look at the numbers reported by The Autism Program, then you begin to discover that the scope of the program is not as great as you think. This isn’t a program helping thousands of children around the state. It’s a program offering extremely limited direct services, to a fraction of the population with autism, at a very limited number of locations. Statewide they provided therapy to only 200 children last year, diagnosed only 400 children. Only tested 500 children. The Autism Program speaks in generalities because they can’t talk about scope of services without people questioning where the money goes.


  63. - Buzzie - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 12:58 pm:

    Given Rauner’s history pertaining to nursing homes, why would anyone be surprised about his lack of caring for other human service programs?


  64. - Keyser Soze - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 12:59 pm:

    Yesterday smoking, today autism, tomorrow, who knows. This is becoming a daily exercise. It occurs that, rather than cherry picking budget cuts, the administration might have been better off had it cut every program across the board. Winner and losers would have then emerged from the ensuing mele, with the Governor sitting on the side-lines.


  65. - illini - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 1:04 pm:

    Should any of us really be surprised at the many cuts he is making in the social service area? It is not only the “clients” that are impacted, but their families as well.

    As an adult caregiver of a parent with Alzheimers I can attest to the fact that information and resources made available to me some years ago has helped me greatly. And I know the same to be true of parents who have children with special needs.

    We do have serious fiscal problems in Illinois, but cutting these programs, cutting funding for higher education and trying to play around with our retirees pensions is not the way to go.

    Elections do indeed have consequences and we are finally seeing what the priorities of our Governor actually are.


  66. - Demoralized - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 1:05 pm:

    ==for your precious non-essential programs.==

    Thank you King of the Jerk People.


  67. - Demoralized - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 1:08 pm:

    ==Statewide they provided therapy to only 200 children last year==

    Sorry 200 children. You’re out of luck. What the hell is wrong with some of you people?


  68. - Earnest - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 1:25 pm:

    Hard Decisions, Can you please direct me to last year’s numbers? All I can find is the FY13 Annual Report here: http://theautismprogram.org/wp-content/uploads/Annual-Report-2013.pdf


  69. - Politix - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 1:33 pm:

    olddog - Thanks - I get it. Those aren’t the types of services I am referring to.


  70. - Hard Decisions - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 1:38 pm:

    Sorry Earnest, the FY13 report would have been filed last June. They haven’t published a FY14 report. You won’t find them.


  71. - A guy - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 1:39 pm:

    Demo, I understand the frustration. There are many programs, even much larger serving families coping with autism. This is one. They do good work. I think all 200 need the help and many, many more. A lot of autism services are provided through Education funding as well. We really do need to look at duplicating services and pick the best and most effective providers. The bad providers are making this road extremely hard for good ones. I pray we look back on this as an unfortunate exercise that had to take place to root out the jerks and wasters. And I hope the best services get their funding restored or don’t lose it. Some should have never gotten cut into the pie in the first place. Whoever got those kind funded needs to be accountable.


  72. - Concerned - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 1:44 pm:

    =We really do need to look at duplicating services and pick the best and most effective providers.=

    In the meantime, let’s cut them all. /snark/


  73. - Demoralized - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 1:51 pm:

    =We really do need to look at duplicating services and pick the best and most effective providers.=

    What’s the saying? Measure twice, cut once.

    I don’t think slash and burn is the way to that goal.


  74. - Earnest - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 2:49 pm:

    Hard Decision, in that case, your numbers are shockingly out of line with theirs


  75. - MrJM - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 2:51 pm:

    Rauner’s budget message to Illinois parents: You should have abandoned your autistic kids and got some motorcycles.

    – MrJM


  76. - crazybleedingheart - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 2:59 pm:

    Good point, MrJM.

    Midlife Crisis Austerity Fever: catch it!


  77. - Mama - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 3:25 pm:

    1 out of every 67 kids have Autism.


  78. - Formerpol - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 4:08 pm:

    Is this taxpayer-funded autism program means-tested? If not, why not?


  79. - dupage dan - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 4:27 pm:

    So, folks are whining because a politician is gaming a program or a state fund? Stop the presses! I would like someone to name a program that isn’t intensely important to the good citizens of the state. The fact is, cases can be made for just about every program and line item, right? And the idea that Rauner is the first one to be so callous in his disregard for the helpless is just laughable.


  80. - olddog - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 4:44 pm:

    === And the idea that Rauner is the first one to be so callous in his disregard for the helpless is just laughable. ===

    Well, Blagojevich was pretty callous, but was callous to everybody — he didn’t target children with disabilities, and he didn’t do it on Good Friday.


  81. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 4:48 pm:

    olddog, Blago froze funding for the exact same autism program.


  82. - A guy - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 4:59 pm:

    Ms. Flaherty, I knew that and wasn’t going to say it. I’m simply hoping it gets re-funded in this process.


  83. - olddog - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 5:34 pm:

    @ Michelle Flaherty — thanks — it sounds like him.


  84. - Anon - Friday, Apr 17, 15 @ 6:29 pm:

    So he’s the black widow nurse. Poisoning his patients now so he can cure them and be a hero later.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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